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Patriot games

"Patriot games" Continued...

Issue: "The Obama era," Feb. 14, 2009

The song does include divisive lyrics suggesting class struggle, contrasting workers with CEOs who "count bonuses behind the castle gates," noting that "the time has come to reaffirm that hope's not just for some," and stipulating that "the people's will must have the upper hand." One little change seems very postmodern: The song's refrain changes "my country 'tis of thee" to "my country 'tis of me.'"

Would those who follow the Bible consider Lear's religion/politics mix as controversial, maybe even divisive? He responded, "Why is drawing from our own humanity and spiritual essence of our humanity right for you and not right for any other segment of the society? We're sons and daughters of the same God [or gods, or nature, or force]. . . . How does the right get to own everything we all care about?"

At Lear's party, Sekou Andrews and Steve Connell, National Poetry Slam champions, performed. "Why in the world is it less offensive to bomb families than be gay?" they asked. "Why did you take my morality and replace it with yours, and why did I let you?. . . We have chosen to act and take America back. . . . President Barack Obama!"

The crowd went wild. Lear shares the speakers' anger about morality: "I don't think our congresspeople should be using their religious affiliation to push laws on the rest of us. But everyone has the right to their opinion and to proselytize in their way." He claimed that "Born Again American" transcends culture wars: "This is not intended as any condemnation, and I don't see a hint of it in any of the lyrics. It's far more saying, 'Hey! We're part of it too, these are all things we care about.'"

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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